German Of The Day: Aneinander vorbeireden

That means to talk at cross purposes. In this case when German politicians use the same word in different ways – gehören (meaning both to belong to and ought to belong to).

Islam

In an interview with the German newspaper BILD Seehofer said: “Islam is not a part of Germany. Germany has been influenced by Christianity. This includes free Sundays, church holidays and rituals such as Easter, Pentecost and Christmas. However, the Muslims living in Germany obviously do belong to Germany.”

This statement conflicted with the position of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Merkel said, even though Germany has been influenced mainly by Christianity and Judaism, there are more than four million Muslims in the country, they “belong to Germany and so does their religion.”

Hey, depending upon how you look at it, Germany does not belong to Germany. Neither does Christianity belong to Germany. Let’s not even start with Judaism. So I think Horst Seehofer is right on the money when he says that Islam does not belong to Germany, either. What’s the big deal? We’re all not in this together, folks.

Da muss man schon präzise sagen, was mit dem Ausdruck “gehört” eigentlich gemeint sein soll. Das kann man ja als schlichte Bestandsaufnahme oder Feststellung meinen: Man gehört zu einer bestimmten Familie oder einem Verein an. Man kann es aber auch so verstehen wie bei der Formulierung: Kinder gehören zeitig ins Bett. Dann bekommt die Aussage eine Sollens-Komponente und erhält eine ganz andere Bedeutung. Und drittens könnte die Frage angesprochen sein, ob der Islam die Bundesrepublik Deutschland in ähnlicher Weise geprägt hat wie das Christentum. Je nachdem, mit welchem Akzent man das Wort “gehört” verwendet, bekommt dieser Satz einen anderen Sinn. Diese Unterschiede werden in der politischen Diskussion leider nicht beachtet, und deswegen redet man munter aneinander vorbei. Das ist vorhersehbar und langweilig.

Advertisements

“Overwhelming And Sustained Public Presence”

That’s what the English term fake news has in Germany. And that’s why it just won Anglicism of the year 2016 (that’s bigger than the Oscars over here, folks).

Fake

Fake (pronounced “fack” as in Fack ju Göhte) and news (pronounced “noose”) is more than the sum of its parts. Much more. It fills a gap in German vocabulary that would otherwise not be filled. That is, unless you filled this gap with fake German news, a term for which there is no proper German term. This is because all the news here is fake, always has been (state-run TV, know what I’m saying?). But it’s all good clean fun and nobody gets hurt feelings because Germany is a benevolent all-intrusive kinda state, right? Not always has been, but still.

„Fake News“ wird im Englischen den Angaben zufolge etwa seit dem Ende des 19. Jahrhunderts verwendet: Damals seien bewusste Falschmeldungen in Zeitungen ab und an so bezeichnet worden.

German Bad Word Of The Year 2016: Volksverräter

That means traitor, or traitor of the people. And it’s actually a non-word or un-word of the year, not just a bad word of the year. Although it’s all three, I guess.

Traitor

And if you look carefully at that photo you will see the feminine form of that word. Just in case you were wondering.

Each year, German linguists elect one word as the ‘Unwort’ (non-word) of the year. For 2016, the winner was a term meaning ‘traitor’ which has strong Nazi connotations.

Das Wort sei ein “Erbe von Diktaturen“, sagte sie. In der Begründung der Jury heißt es, Anhänger von Pegida, AfD und ähnlichen Initiativen würden den Begriff als Vorwurf gegenüber Politikern verwenden. Er sei undifferenziert und diffamierend und würde “das ernsthafte Gespräch und damit die für Demokratie notwendigen Diskussionen in der Gesellschaft” abwürgen.

German Of The Day/Year: Postfaktisch

That means post-factual – and has just been selected Germany’s word of the year 2016.

Postfaktisch

“This awkward adjective describes the development in which public debates are defined more and more by temperament and feelings than by facts. This may not be a term used in everyday speech, the experts admit, but crucial here is that it reflects central events that have taken place this year – from Brexit to Trump.”

Das sperrige Adjektiv beschreibt die Entwicklung, dass öffentliche Debatten zunehmend von Stimmungen und Gefühlen und weniger von Fakten bestimmt werden. Dies sei zwar kein Begriff aus der Alltagssprache, räumen die Experten ein. Entscheidend sei jedoch, dass er zentrale Ereignisse des Jahres widerspiegele – von Brexit bis Trump.

Finally, A German Non-Word Of The Year For The Rest Of Us

Please, someone please have this 2015 winner introduced into the English language ASAP, please (did I say please?): Gutmensch.

Gutmensch

A Gutmensch is a do-gooder or a starry-eyed idealist. Or the term can also be seen as a blanket reproach for being “naive, dumb and worldly innocent, or being someone suffering from helper syndrome or moral imperialism.”

Or if you want a more concrete example of what this kind of non-word ailment can lead to, take a look at what’s going in in Germany right now. That’s right. The Gutmenschen are behind all of this.

Wer Gutmensch sagt, verdient sich seinen Shitstorm.

GroKo Is Just What It Sounds Like

Whoopee or something. Germany’s grand coalition is finally here – a government the Germans didn’t vote for.

groko

GERMANY’S language boffins were first: they coined “GroKo” (short for grand coalition) the German language’s word of the year 2013 (an accolade that is not automatically flattering). To some Germans, this neologism might evoke a “great crocodile” or something otherwise sinister.

What does this really mean? It means that the tail (SPD) has succeeded in wagging the dog (CDU/CSU) and will now force enough of its social democratic agenda (“social” = free lunch) upon the German ship of way-too-big-state to veer it off the proper course, once again. It had been heading, however timidly, toward more private initiative =  responsibility and away from your typical German been-there-done-that world of ever more government waste, meddling and control. The CDU/CSU has now become thoroughly social democratized, in other words.

Just like with the “energy turnaround,” everybody will wake up again once they figure out that this is actually going to cost them personally way too much money. Hey, life is a zigzag course. They’ll get back on track again eventually.

PS: Something actually happened on German TV last night that was apparently worth watching.

This Is An Anglicism

Not an Americanismcism, OK?

Those filthy-mouthed British. “Shitstorm” just won Germany’s Anglicism of the Year award (2011). Wow. I wonder if “Crap Tornado” came in second?

The punchline: “The jury’s decision is meant to emphasize the positive influence of English on the German language.” I don’t make this stuff up, people.

Mit der Wahl will die Jury den positiven Einfluss von englischen Ausdrücken auf die deutsche Sprache hervorheben.